West Berkshire Council

New pump track opens in Thatcham

New pump track is dedicated to the memory of Tom Slater

2017 - Pump Track - Henwick Worthy Sports Ground

The Tom Slater Memorial Pump Track on the Western side of the Henwick Worthy Sports Ground, Thatcham, Thatcham is officially open.

A pump track is a continuous loop of dirt berms and 'rollers' (smooth dirt mounds) that can be ridden without pedalling. The name 'Pump Track' comes from the pumping motion used by the rider's upper and lower body as they ride around the track. The idea is to use this pumping motion to maintain speed around the track without pedalling. It's a great work out and lots of fun!

The project has been fully funded through the efforts of local man Paul Slater and Stuart Luker, a local builder who raised over £30,000 through a sponsored cycle ride to Paris and some generous sponsors including Jon Tisdall of CYO Seeds and the late Pete Sherratt. Greenham Common Trust match funded £5,170 and also gave a grant of £4,318.

Paul started the project following the death of his son Thomas in a road traffic accident in 2012.

He said: "I'm delighted that this facility is now open for young people to enjoy.  I can't thank everyone who has made it happen enough, I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of local companies and people.  Thomas used to play in the Henwick Sports Ground all the time. He particularly loved the BMX humps in the north side of the field, where he and his friends use to jump their bicycles.

"I approached the Henwick Joint Management Committee (JMC) about the possibility of putting a memorial bench in the south corner of the field, which they granted willingly.

"Stuart Luker of Ashmore Green Construction then asked if we could help him raise some money to repair the old BMX track as a larger memorial to Tom as he loved it so much and the JMC very kindly agreed to that too."

Stuart and Paul decided to go with a bicycle themed fundraiser and went on a charity bike ride from Henwick to Paris in May 2013. To their surprise another 28 volunteers came forward!

After covering nearly 300 miles over three days they raised the £35,000 needed to create the PumpTrack.

They then consulted with residents to find the best possible location for the Track and were delighted when West Berkshire Council offered them the land on the West side of the Ground.

Councillor Dominic Boeck, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Culture and Environment said, "I'm delighted that we were able to help accommodate this great facility. It's a testament to the power of the collective and what can be achieved when people work towards a common aim. I'm sure that the young people of Thatcham will really enjoy and appreciate it. "

Councillor Rob Denton Powell, Henwick Joint Management Committee Chair, said: "I'm delighted with the end product of this project and it's been exciting seeing it come from plans to reality. I've already spoken to some early users of the track, and they absolutely love it."